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May 11, 2009, 5:06 AM CT

Conflict of interest in cancer studies

Conflict of interest in cancer studies
Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., is an assistant professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.
Nearly one-third of cancer research published in high-impact journals disclosed a conflict of interest, as per a newly released study from scientists at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The most frequent type of conflict was industry funding of the study, which was seen in 17 percent of papers. Twelve percent of papers had a study author who was an industry employee. Randomized trials with reported conflicts of interest were more likely to have positive findings.

"Given the frequency we observed for conflicts of interest and the fact that conflicts were linked to study outcomes, I would suggest that merely disclosing conflicts is probably not enough. It's becoming increasingly clear that we need to look more at how we can disentangle cancer research from industry ties," says study author Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., assistant professor of radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School.

The scientists looked at 1,534 cancer research studies published in prominent journals. Results of this current study appear online in the journal Cancer

"A serious concern is individuals with conflicts of interest will either consciously or unconsciously be biased in their analyses. As researchers, we have an obligation to treat the data objectively and in an unbiased fashion. There appears to be some relationships that compromise a researcher's ability to do that," Jagsi says.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 5, 2009, 8:42 PM CT

CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk

CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk
Physicians should review a patient's CT imaging history and cumulative radiation dose when considering whether to perform another CT exam, as per scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO.

The study included 130 patients who had at least three emergency department visits within one year in which they had a Computerized axial tomography scan of the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis. "We gathered the recent CT exam histories for each of these patients and observed that half had undergone ten or more Computerized axial tomography scans in the prior eight years, up to a maximum of 70 Computerized axial tomography scans," said Aaron Sodickson, MD, PhD. "Using typical dose values and standard risk estimation methods, we calculated that half of our group had accrued additional radiation-induced cancer risks above baseline greater than 1 in 110, up to a maximum of 1 in 17".

"A patient's cumulative risk of radiation-induced cancers is believed to increase with increasing cumulative radiation dose. The level of risk is further increased for patients scanned at young ages and is in general greater for women than for men. There is no absolute threshold, however, and the potential risks of radiation induced cancer must be balanced against the expected clinical benefits of the Computerized axial tomography scan for the patient's particular scenario," he said.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 5, 2009, 5:29 AM CT

Targeting tumors using gold nanorods

Targeting tumors using gold nanorods
MIT researchers developed these gold nanorods that absorb energy from near-infrared light and emit it as heat, destroying cancer cells. Photo / Sangeeta Bhatia Laboratory; MIT

It has long been known that heat is an effective weapon against tumor cells. However, it's difficult to heat patients' tumors without damaging nearby tissues.

Now, MIT scientists have developed tiny gold particles that can home in on tumors, and then, by absorbing energy from near-infrared light and emitting it as heat, destroy tumors with minimal side effects.

Such particles, known as gold nanorods, could diagnose as well as treat tumors, says MIT graduate student Geoffrey von Maltzahn, who developed the tumor-homing particles with Sangeeta Bhatia, professor in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST) and in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Von Maltzahn and Bhatia describe their gold nanorods in two papers recently published in Cancer Research and Advanced Materials. In March, von Maltzahn won the Lemelson-MIT Student Prize, in part for his work with the nanorods.

Cancer affects about seven million people worldwide, and that number is projected to grow to 15 million by 2020. Most of those patients are treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation, which are often effective but can have debilitating side effects because it's difficult to target tumor tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


May 4, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

Personalized treatment for early lung cancer

Personalized treatment for early lung cancer
Cancer vaccines and targeted therapies are beginning to offer new therapy options following surgery for patients with early stages of lung cancer, experts said at the first European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO) in Lugano, Switzerland (1-3 May 2009).

"Personalizing treatment is the key strategy for longer and better survival in lung cancer," said Prof Paris Kosmidis, head of the second Medical Oncology Department at Hygeia Hospital in Athens, Greece. "This is especially important for early stage disease when following surgery, decisions about preventive treatment are based on specific prognostic and predictive factors."

Prof Walter Weder, head of thoracic surgery at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, adds: "At the meeting, several research groups will present data from new and ongoing studies that show how existing therapys might be combined with targeted therapies and new cancer vaccines. We hope that these new therapys will provide further progress."

In one poster presentation at the meeting, scientists describe the results of a study that sought to identify which patients are likely to benefit from an immune-boosting vaccine designed to help the immune system recognize MAGE-A3, a protein that is expressed on about 30% of lung cancers.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 27, 2009, 5:28 AM CT

Statins may reduce the risk of prostate cancer

Statins may reduce the risk of prostate cancer
Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins may reduce inflammation in prostate tumors, possibly hindering cancer growth, as per a research studyled by researchers in the Duke Prostate Center.

"Prior studies have shown that men taking statins seem to have a lower occurence rate of advanced prostate cancer, but the mechanisms by which statins might be affecting the prostate remained largely unknown," said Lionel Baez, M.D., a researcher in the Duke Prostate Center and lead investigator on this study. "We looked at tumor samples and observed that men who were on statins had a 72 percent reduction in risk for tumor inflammation, and we believe this might play a role in the correlation between prostate cancer and statin use".

The scientists presented their finding at the American Urological Association's annual meeting on April 26, 2009, and the study was selected to be part of the meeting's press program on April 27, 2009. The study was funded by the United States Department of Defense and the American Urological Association Foundation.

The scientists looked at pathological information from the tumors of 254 men who underwent radical prostatectomy or surgery to remove the entire prostate as a therapy for prostate cancer at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 1993 and 2004. The tissue was graded by a pathologist for inflammation on a scale of 0 to 2: 0 for no inflammation, 1 for mild inflammation (less than 10 percent of the tumor) and 2 for marked inflammation (greater than 10 percent of the tumor).........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 27, 2009, 5:03 AM CT

Improving treatment of lung cancer

Improving treatment of lung cancer
Prevention, personalized therapies and closer collaborations between surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists will result in better outcomes for patients with lung cancer and those at risk, a leading European expert says.

"Lung cancer is a complex disease. It is one of the most complex cancers, and the more we learn about the biology of the disease, the more we realize that improved cancer care will result from multidisciplinary therapy," said Prof Robert Pirker, from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

Prof Pirker is co-chair of the scientific committee of a new medical conference, the European Multidisciplinary Conference in Thoracic Oncology (EMCTO), being held for the first time this year, 1-3 May, in Lugano, Switzerland. The conference aims to further clinical and scientific cooperation between disciplines to help in the fight against lung cancer.

Over the past 5 years, scientists have established that for patients with operable cancer, surgery followed by chemotherapy can result in good outcomes. Now, large clinical trials are beginning to evaluate that adding molecular targeted therapies can further improve the chance of a successful outcome for some patients. In addition, doctors are now attempting to refine their therapys based on the clinical characteristics of individual patients, and based on the molecular profile of their tumour.........

Posted by: Scott      Read more         Source


April 27, 2009, 5:01 AM CT

Who should get PSA testing?

Who should get PSA testing?
LINTHICUM, MD, April 27, 2009The American Urological Association (AUA) today issued new clinical guidance which directly contrasts recent recommendations issued by other major groups about prostate cancer screening, asserting that the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should be offered to well-informed, men aged 40 years or older who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. The PSA test, as well as how it is used to guide patient care (e.g., at what age men should begin regular testing, intervals at which the test should be repeated, at what point a biopsy is necessary) is highly controversial; however, the AUA believes that, when offered and interpreted appropriately the PSA test may provide essential information for the diagnosis, pre-treatment staging or risk evaluation and post-treatment monitoring of prostate cancer.

The new Best Practice Statement updates the AUA's prior guidance, which was issued in 2000. Major changes to the AUA statement include new recommendations about who should be considered for PSA testing, as well as when a biopsy is indicated following an abnormal PSA reading. As per the AUA, early detection and risk evaluation of prostate cancer should be offered to well-informed men 40 years of age or older who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years. The future risk of prostate cancer is closely correlation to a man's PSA score; a baseline PSA level above the median for age 40 is a strong predictor of prostate cancer. Such testing may not only allow for earlier detection of more curable cancers, but may also allow for more efficient, less frequent testing. Men who wish to be screened for prostate cancer should have both a PSA test and a digital rectal exam (DRE). The Statement also notes that other factors such as family history, age, overall health and ethnicity should be combined with the results of PSA testing and physical examination in order to better determine the risk of prostate cancer. The Statement recommends that the benefits and risks of screening of prostate cancer should be discussed including the risk of over-detection, detecting some cancers which may not need immediate therapy.........

Posted by: Mark      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:21 AM CT

New cancer drug reduces neuroblastoma growth by 75 percent

New cancer drug reduces neuroblastoma growth by 75 percent
Scientists from the Children's Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found a new drug that restricts the growth of neuroblastoma, a childhood brain cancer. The pre-clinical study was presented today in the plenary session at the 22nd annual meeting of the American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

Alejandro Levy, M.D., fellow at the Children's Cancer Hospital at M. D. Anderson, presented research showing for the first time that the M. D. Anderson-developed drug, 3-BrOP, reduces tumor growth by more than 75 percent as a single agent. The study, conducted with human neuroblastoma cells transplanted into mice, showed how 3-BrOP, a glycolysis inhibitor, starved the cancer cells to death by shutting down their main energy source, glucose.

"We observed that neuroblastoma cells, unlike healthy cells, are highly dependent on glycolysis for energy instead of more efficient means of energy production," said Levy. "Glycolysis is a process that breaks down sugar for energy, so by blocking that process with 3-BrOP, we are able to keep the tumors from producing energy, and this disrupts their ability to grow".

As per the American Cancer Society, approximately 650 children, mainly under the age of five, are diagnosed with neuroblastoma in the United States each year. Close to two-thirds of these children are diagnosed after the cancer has metastasized to other parts of the body. For these patients with high-risk neuroblastoma, long-term survival is less than 40 percent because the tumors are often resistant to traditional chemotherapy.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 24, 2009, 5:19 AM CT

New breast radiation device for breast cancer patients

New breast radiation device for breast cancer patients
This is the SAVI applicator.
A newly released study shows that the SAVI applicator, a small, expandable device inserted inside the breast to deliver partial breast irradiation, carries a low infection risk, a potential complication of such devices. The research, led by radiation oncologists and surgeons at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center and Fort Myers, Florida-based 21st Century Oncology, also indicates that other complications such as seromas, pockets of fluid that build with the use of internal radiation devices are unlikely to occur.

That's good news for those women with early-stage breast cancer who opt to have such devices inserted for their radiation treatment after breast-sparing lumpectomy surgery, said Cate Yashar, MD, associate professor of radiation oncology at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and chief of breast and gynecological radiation services at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. Their use is increasing, she added, noting that the Moores UCSD Cancer Center was one of the first medical facilities in the country to offer SAVI.

SAVI, which consists of flexible catheters through which radiation is given, provides customized radiation treatment and minimizes exposure to healthy tissue after a woman has undergone a lumpectomy to remove a malignant tumor. Radiation specialists sometimes decide to give women internal radiation a process called brachytherapy with the goal of giving concentrated doses of radiation to areas of concern while avoiding healthy tissue.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source


April 22, 2009, 5:21 AM CT

Breast cancer patients, emotional quality and exercise

Breast cancer patients, emotional quality and exercise
Charles Emery
The first study to monitor physical activity in patients with breast cancer for five years suggests that patients with greater depressive symptoms and a lower emotional quality of life are less likely to exercise as part of their recovery than are patients reporting less distress.

While the findings may seem intuitive, they also add weight to a growing pool of data supporting the need to concentrate on patients with breast cancer' emotional health soon after they are diagnosed, scientists say.

Overall, the women as a group increased their physical activity during the first 18 months after diagnosis and therapy, but then their physical activity gradually declined over the remaining 3 1/2 years.

Poor physical health also was linked to less physical activity over all five years. Conversely, family support appeared to slow the decline in physical activity over the last 42 months of the study.

Depressive symptoms can include low mood, low energy, sleep difficulty and a lack of interest in, or withdrawal from, normal activities. Emotional quality of health is a broad composite measure of social and psychological factors, including mood, tension and the presence or lack of social support.

"This suggests that stress in the form of depressive symptoms is correlation to actual health behavior over a sustained period of time," said Charles Emery, professor of psychology at Ohio State University and main author of the study.........

Posted by: Janet      Read more         Source



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Cancer
Cancer is a very common disease, approximately one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point during the course of their life. Cancer is more common in the elderly and 77 percent of cancers occur in people above age 55 or older. Cancer is also common in children. Cancer incidence is said to have two peaks once during early childhood and then during late years in life. No age period is completely exempted from development of cancers. Some cancers occur predominantly in the elderly, other types occur in children, Cancer occurs in all ethnic races, however the cancer rates and rates of specific cancer types may vary from group to group. Late stages of cancer may be incurable in most cases, but with the advancement of medicine, more and more cancers are becoming curable.

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